Vail Mountain School soccer smashes Sheridan on Friday
EAST VAIL — There just wasn’t going to be an upset on Friday as the Vail Mountain School soccer team opened the 3A state playoffs against Sheridan in East Vail.
The Gore Rangers (13-3) ripped off three goals in the first six minutes on their way to an easy 10-0 win over the visiting Rams. VMS takes on Delta, a 3-0 winner against Peak to Peak, today at Bandoni Alumni Field at 1 p.m. in Round 2.
“We wanted to come out and put them away early, so we would not exert as much energy and come back fresh for tomorrow,” Gore Rangers co-captain Eric Zdechlik said. “That was good for us.”
Apparently, one could see this coming from the team’s week of practice.
“This week in training, they knew it was playoffs,” VMS coach Pete Petrovski said. “They were ramping up each day. We had to keep them calm in training sessions. We didn’t have to talk about intensity.”
‘The unsung heroes’
And what followed looked very much like a No. 4-ranked team playing a No. 29 squad. Liam Hurley scored in the second minute, followed by Zdechlik to Peter Ferraro in the third. By the time the orange-clad faithful had sung few refrains of “Fight on Gore Rangers,” Ferraro returned the favor to Zdechlik in the sixth.
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“When they go out there and do what they can, it’s just fun to watch,” Petrovski said.
Not only does a favorite not want to give an underdog the possibility of an upset, but Zdechlik was absolutely right in talking about getting some rest with back-to-back postseason games. Petrovski rightly played everyone in liberal doses. The defense combined for No. 4 — Max Bervy to Michael Resnick.
“It’s really exciting that a lot of people care and believe we can do something special,” Resnick said.
Theo Marston sent the Gore Rangers into the half with 5-0 lead.
The starters returned briefly to begin the second half with Hurley to Ferraro and the latter to Kevin Garcia. It was then set-piece time. Zdechlik fed Hurley for his hat trick. Pablo Aziz then sent a corner kick into Zach Stockton.
The last was probably generated the biggest response from the VMS bench. That’s because a lot of the substitutes who played on Friday are a vital part of the squad behind the scenes.
“They’re the unsung heroes,” Petrovski said. “If they don’t work hard in practice, we aren’t where we are. They work their tails off. They’re fighting for starting sports, too. If we don’t have competitive balance in practice, we’re not as good of a team as we are.”
Apparently, Sheridan had enough. A Rams player dribbled the ball 20 yards or so toward his net and shot on his own goal, scoring VMS’ 10th. In the playoffs, if the differential gets to 10 goals that’s it, and so it was in the 68th minute.
No. 20 Delta beat No. 13 Peak to Peak during the second playoff game on Friday at Bandoni Alumni Field, so it’s a Western Slope rematch in Round 2 today. VMS beat the Panthers, 2-1, in overtime on a Robby Gruber goal two weeks ago.
“I expect them to come out and push us harder than they did last time,” Petrovski said. “I know they will. They’ve got that fire in their belly. They don’t want us to beat them again. I expect them to come out and play physical, move the ball around. They’re going to do their best to prevent us from moving the ball down the flanks.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.